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Avoid 7 Deadly Sins of Business School Applicants

A former business school admissions dean tells prospective students what not to do.

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[Read more tips on how to write M.B.A. application essays.] 

Sin 6. Asking questions you could answer yourself: Do your homework and take the time to know the basics. Steer clear of asking questions you can easily find answers to on your own, such as "What are your application deadlines?" or "Do you offer financial aid?" When an M.B.A. applicant asked me these questions, I made a note for future reference, and it was not because I was impressed. 

However, if there are aspects of an M.B.A. program that is of particular interest to you such as a study aboard program, it's OK to ask for more details. This shows that you are taking the time to look deeper into the program's offerings and considering a variety of elements that make that business school special. 

[Learn how to choose your M.B.A. concentration.] 

Sin 7. Leaving something unaddressed or making excuses: If there is something about your M.B.A. application that you believe needs explaining (a gap in employment, a low undergraduate GPA), be sure to address it head on. Otherwise, the admissions committee may think you are hiding something. But when you do address it, don't make excuses. Provide an explanation and offer to provide more information if needed. 

Dr. Don Martin, Ph.D., is a higher education admissions expert, author, and former admissions dean at Columbia University, Northwestern University, Wheaton College, and University of Chicago Booth School of Business. To learn more about graduate admissions, visit gradschoolroadmap.com.